Several years ago I went on a retreat for divorced, separated, and widowed people. One of the questions that came up during that retreat has been rattling around in my head again lately.
Who do you trust?
Given 45 minutes to make up a list of who I trusted, I was done in under a minute. I spent the next 44 minutes staring at the mostly blank page. Notably absent from the page were God and myself. Of the three people who made the list back then, one has decidedly and rather emphatically been crossed off and one I don’t really see anymore.
Why this exercise suddenly came back to me after all this time, I really don’t know. But the fact that it came back to me right at the start of Lent is most likely not a coincidence. Who makes the list now? I couldn’t tell you. I haven’t written it yet. And I’m sure you can figure out that I haven’t written it because I don’t want to see it staring back at me.
There’s been so much going on here lately and it’s so much easier to lose myself in the papers and reading of three classes than it is to take an hour and write a simple list. It’s easier to go online and bicker religion and politics than it is to write a simple list. It was even easier to get up a 5am to write a five page paper on the discernment process than it has been to write this one simple, stupid list.
Because it’s neither simple nor stupid.
And so on this frozen first Sunday of Lent, when I’d like nothing more than to keep myself busy and distracted, I find myself way ahead on my reading for all three of my classes. I have no papers due this week. My kids have commandeered the television to watch NASCAR. My friends have taken to social media to either document their celebration of Valentine’s Day or to revel in their jadedness. Which leaves me more or less alone with a blank page, a pen, and a voice that won’t leave me alone.
And I suspect what appears on this list – or doesn’t – will be what shapes my Lent this year.